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invasive pests

Before These Caterpillars Become Moths, They Unite to Destroy Forests

A caterpillar that’s been rarely observed in the wild is about to join with another species of inch worms to wreak destruction upon two national forests in New Mexico. The culprit, called Janet’s looper caterpillar, feeds on the needles of high-elevation fir and spruce trees, but this insect has rarely been observed for nearly 50 years.

USDA and Partners Work to Eliminate Invasive Nutria From Maryland’s Eastern Shore

Word has it that legendary actress Greta Garbo could be seen wearing nutria fur coats back in the day, and nutria fur coats can still be found in vintage clothing stores around the world. Nutria, sometimes called swamp rats, were first introduced into the United States in the 1800s to be used in the fur trade. However, when the fur trade collapsed in the mid 1900’s thousands of nutria were released by ranchers who could no longer afford to feed and care for them. This invasive rodent, about half the size of a beaver, damages wetland ecosystems by eating away at their delicate vegetation. Nutria have since been found in at least 20 states.

The U.S. Seed Trade Industry Thanks USDA for Helping It Thrive

Seeds for planting represent tremendous value to the U.S. agricultural economy. In 2016, the United States exported $1.67 billion worth of these seeds and imported $997 million worth of them. This month, the American Seed Trade Association (ASTA) recognized USDA’s efforts to make the international movement of seeds safer and more efficient. The association presented its 2018 Distinguished Service Award to Osama El-Lissy, Deputy Administrator of USDA’s Plant Protection and Quarantine program.

Tree Breeding: Creating Tomorrow’s Healthy Forests Today

Immobile and long-lived, trees endure extreme weather, fires, and pests for tens, hundreds, and even thousands of years. In Fishlake National Forest, Utah, there is a quaking aspen colony spanning 106 acres that is roughly 80,000 years old. To give you a sense of scale, if the average human lives 79 years, this aspen colony has already lived over a thousand times longer!

Know the Lei of the Land: APHIS Plant Health Safeguarding Specialists’ Work in Hawaii

Aloha! I am a Plant Health Safeguarding Specialist based in Hawaii, where my colleagues and I help protect agricultural crops and natural resources on the U.S. mainland from plant pests like exotic fruit flies, Asian citrus psyllid and the coconut rhinoceros beetle. The Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service’s multi-faceted predeparture inspection program supports the movement of travelers, baggage, cargo and mail leaving the Hawaiian Islands, while working to stop the movement of invasive pests.

Protecting Agriculture on the Internet – One Click, One Post, One Sale at a Time

While we are raising awareness about invasive pests during Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month, I wanted to share a bit about what I do every day to protect agriculture. When you picture someone on the front lines of stopping invasive pests, you probably picture someone outside – in a field or a tree. But I fight invasive pests from a completely different location – my computer.

It’s a Small World After All

The United States Secretary of Agriculture Sonny Perdue has proclaimed April 2018 as Invasive Plant Pest and Disease Awareness Month. The goal of IPPDAM is to: increase public awareness of invasive species; provide tips to prevent their spread; and, encourage residents to report signs of them. Today we highlight USDA’s Heather Coady. Ms. Coady, and Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service (APHIS) employees like her, assist other countries in their pest control efforts by working to stop pests at the source.

Feral Swine Eradication in Havasu National Wildlife Refuge: Protecting Endangered Species from Feral Swine Damage

Havasu National Wildlife Refuge was established by Franklin D. Roosevelt in 1941, as a refuge and breeding ground for migratory birds and other wildlife. The refuge encompasses 37,515 acres of riverine, riparian, wetland, and desert upland habitats protecting one of the last remaining natural stretches of the lower Colorado River along the Arizona and California borders. The refuge is an important breeding ground and migratory flyway stopover for over 300 species of birds.

Fall Armyworm: USDA Research Lends a Hand in International Pest Outbreak

USDA researchers tackle tough problems critical to American agriculture. Addressing how to nurture heathy soils, improve crop yields, or prevent livestock diseases, they carefully plan experiments and analyze data that can lead to better on-farm decisions and more productive practices. But even scientists can’t always predict how far their work will eventually go. Recently, USDA researchers in Florida have seen their work take on unexpected relevance in Africa with the outbreak of an invasive crop pest.